Classic Christmas, Vols. 1-2

A Classic Christmas, Vols. 1-2

by Toby Keith
     
 
Two discs totaling 20 Yuletide favorites served up in warm, welcoming fashion is this most pleasant of holiday treats. Gathering an acoustic band comprised largely of fiddle, mandolin, bass, guitar, piano and, in what amounts to a star turn, Rob Ickes on dobro, Keith kicks back and luxuriates in some festive arrangements that put a fresh spin on the traditional

Overview

Two discs totaling 20 Yuletide favorites served up in warm, welcoming fashion is this most pleasant of holiday treats. Gathering an acoustic band comprised largely of fiddle, mandolin, bass, guitar, piano and, in what amounts to a star turn, Rob Ickes on dobro, Keith kicks back and luxuriates in some festive arrangements that put a fresh spin on the traditional favorites here. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is soothing and seductive, thanks to Keith's engaging pop crooning touch. "Frosty the Snowman" gets all dressed up in a rocking western swing arrangement complete with twin fiddles and bopping rhythm attack. Christmas chimes and a cooing background chorus lend a hopeful air to Keith's bluesy urgency in the R&B-tinged version of Charles Brown's enduring "Please Come Home for Christmas." Whereas the first disc focuses on secular seasonal songs, the second hails the newborn King, as Keith assays carols from across the ages. Digging into contemporary gospel, he wrecks the house with a righteously declaimed rendition of "Go Tell It On the Mountain"; the ancient "O Come All Ye Faithful" is rendered with all the majestic importuning the lyrics demand, Keith's stentorian tenor rising strong and proud over thundering percussion and plaintive choral singers as Ickes adds a rustic touch with his precisely placed dobro punctuations. This Christmas package concludes with an ebullient rendering of "Joy To the World," with drums, fiddle, chorus all exactly the right measure of celebratory attitude to buttress Keith's unabashed exultation in the moment and in the lyrical sentiment he drives home with unflagging commitment. Herein, Toby Keith keeps Christmas well.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
OK, bypass that hideous cover, which makes A Classic Christmas seem more like a piece of careless product than it actually is -- Toby Keith is one of the biggest stars in Nashville; certainly Show Dog could have put in a little more effort into the art besides Photoshopping a cartoon Santa hat on an old publicity photo -- and concentrate on the music on this two-disc, 20-track set. Granted, a holiday album of this size may seem like overkill, but this isn't one sprawling, unedited session: it's two distinct albums, the first containing secular seasonal standards, the second religious-themed carols. In both cases, they are certainly "classic" tunes -- there's not an unexpected song in the bunch, whether it's "Winter Wonderland" and "Silver Bells" or "The First Noel" and "Away in a Manger" -- which can almost be read as a reaction to his first holiday album, 1995's Christmas to Christmas, which was most decidedly not a classic Christmas album, relying on 12 newly written tunes, several by Keith himself. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't memorable, where this Classic Christmas often is, especially on the secular disc, as he gives those tunes looser arrangements that allow the band to lie back and have some fun, especially on a lazily loping "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" and a soulful "Please Come Home for Christmas." The carols are, perhaps expectedly, a bit stately but they're done well, and he does give "Go Tell It on the Mountain" a welcome bit of gospel fervor. This shift in tones means that the two halves of Classic Christmas feel like similar but related albums, with the first being better for parties, and the second for quiet nights at home, and both are solid holiday albums, and both are much, much better than that cover art would indicate.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/16/2007
Label:
Show Dog Nashville
UPC:
0852313001379
catalogNumber:
15

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Toby Keith   Primary Artist
John Wesley Ryles   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Chad Cromwell   Percussion,Drums
John Hobbs   Keyboards
Rob Ickes   Dobro
Dave Pomeroy   Bass,Bass Guitar
Randy Scruggs   Acoustic Guitar,Bouzouki,12-string Guitar
Harry Stinson   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Biff Watson   Acoustic Guitar
Jonathan Yudkin   Bass,Violin,Cello,Bass Guitar,Viola,Xylophone,celtic harp,Octaphone
Lisa Cochran   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Mica Roberts   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony

Technical Credits

Irving Berlin   Composer
Mel Tormé   Composer
Buck Ram   Composer
Harry Simeone   Composer
Toby Keith   Arranger,Producer,Audio Production
Felix Bernard   Composer
Sammy Cahn   Composer
Kim Gannon   Composer
Walter Kent   Composer
Jay Livingston   Composer
Mills Logan   Engineer
Johnny Marks   Composer
Hugh Martin   Composer
Henry Onorati   Composer
Gene Redd   Composer
Randy Scruggs   Arranger,Producer,Audio Production
Jule Styne   Composer
Ralph Blane   Composer
Jack Rollins   Composer
Darren Welch   Art Direction
Steve Nelson   Composer
Brian Bobel   Art Direction

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